MySQL Focusing on Scalability for Web 2.0

Solving the scalability problems of Web application developers will play an important role in MySQL's future.

While MySQL may not be supplanting proprietary databases in the enterprise, the people behind the open-source database see solving the scalability problems of Web application developers as their ticket towards broader enterprise adoption.

MySQL has traditionally been focused on being the top database for online applications, a focus that has not shifted with the acquisition of MySQL AB by Sun Microsystems. Looking ahead, company officials said a key focus for the product will be to help organizations scale up and out. With large-scale Web applications, the sheer number of users, data or transactions can grow rapidly, making scalability important for enterprises.

"We are working closely with Sun's performance engineers to identify possible bottlenecks in the MySQL server as well as in specific storage engines," said Zack Urlocker, vice president of products for Sun's new Database Group. "We do a lot of stress testing, putting the database under extreme conditions and using technology like [Sun's] Dtrace as well as other techniques to effectively put the performance under a microscope to figure out where the bottlenecks are and then make adjustments."

The company is also looking to integrate the efforts Sun and MySQL AB were making separately around Memcache, a high-performance distributed caching system designed to take large loads off the database server and distribute them across low-cost servers with a global cache. The technology is used by some high-traffic sites to optimize performance.

The shift towards more Web-based architectures in the enterprise will benefit MySQL, said Matt Aslett, an analyst with The 451 Group.

To read about Sun's $1 billion buyout of MySQL, click here.

"In acquiring MySQL, Sun announced that it would be putting resources behind the open-source database to position it as an alternative for mission-critical, high performance applications," he said. "The caveat is that it will support those applications as they are deployed on Web-based architectures. The relevance of MySQL will therefore grow as businesses move to service-oriented architectures for internal application deployment."